Deshmukh corruption probe: CBI records statements of Sachin Vaze, bar owner

In a major development in connection with the Preliminary Enquiry (PE) being conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the corruption allegations levelled by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh against ex-Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, the enquiry team on Friday recorded statement of a bar owner.

Singh had earlier filed a petition in the Bombay high court (HC) seeking a CBI probe against Deshmukh, alleging the NCP leader had asked suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze and other police officers to extort Rs 100 crore from restaurants and bars in Mumbai.

"The enquiry team has recorded statement of a bar owner in connection with the allegations that money was supposed to be extorted from bar and restaurant owners in Mumbai," confirmed a CBI source.

The sources claimed that name of the bar owner had cropped up during the enquiry of Vaze.

The CBI recorded the statement of Vaze for a third consecutive day on Friday. A CBI team on Friday morning went to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) office at Peddar Road and recorded Vaze's statement after having received an order of a special NIA court permitting them to question Vaze.

Deshmukh, who has rejected the allegations levelled against him, had resigned from the cabinet on April 5 after the HC order.

Following an order of the Bombay HC, the CBI on Tuesday registered a PE to probe the allegations against Deshmukh.

The CBI team had earlier recorded the statements of Parambir, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Enforcement) Raju Bhujbal, assistant commissioner of police Sanjay Patil and Vaze in connection with the allegations. The CBI team had also recorded the statement of advocate Jayshri Patil, who had also approached the court seeking probe into Singh’s allegations. The HC had ordered the CBI probe against Deshmukh on a criminal writ petition filed by advocate Patil.

Singh, in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, had mentioned the names of Bhujbal, AACP Patil and Vaze, while making the allegations against Deshmukh.

Vaze was is in the custody of NIA, which is probing the case of an explosives-laden SUV found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house, 'Antilia', in on February 25. Vaze is also under the scanner for the alleged murder of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran, who was in possession of the SUV.

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